The countdown to 2017 is officially on! We can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year than with a few festive, bubbly libations. So pop some bottles and enjoy these champagne cocktails that are almost too pretty to drink.

 

French 75

  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 3 oz champagne

Combine cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass. Top with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 The Countdown

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 4 oz champagne
  • 12 red grapes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Muddle 8 grapes and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass. Top with champagne. Garnish with additional grapes.

 Sherry Temple

  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 tsp cherry juice
  • 1 oz sherry
  • 4 oz champagne

Place the cherry and juice in the bottom of the glass. Fill the glass with champagne then top with sherry.

 

Looking for more holiday cocktail creations?

Tweet us at @CulinAero!

Gone are the days where “healthy” and “delicious” are mutually exclusive. With an upward trend of deliciously healthy dishes, the opportunities are endless for your health-conscious catering needs. Your attendees won’t even recognize the difference!

Read more

Dessert: the grand finale of every meal. There’s a reason why we celebrate with cake! Dessert can be the most enjoyable – and memorable – part of any event, which is why we make sure our clients’ guests are ‘wowed’ every time. If you’re unsure of which direction to take, keep reading for outstanding creative dessert station ideas.

Dessert Station Read more

It comes as no surprise that the bar can be the most popular spot at any event. But, don’t make it stale with the same old beer and wine. These trendy craft cocktails will set your event apart from the rest with delicious flavors for happy guests. Read more

What is the best way to keep your event attendees engaged and excited? The answer is not just food, but how you display it. Catered food should taste delicious, but look even better. Keep reading for 4 creative food displays you can incorporate into your next catered event.

Repurposed Tools of the Trade
Depending on the theme of the event, repurpose the group’s tools of the trade to add a personalized touch. Catering for a group of scientists? Transform test tubes into shots of fresh pressed juices or use beakers to pour drinks. Other idea: use distressed wood planks to serve meals to attendees in the construction industry.

Fruit Bouquet Centerpiece
Now your centerpiece can double as an appetizer! Mix seasonal fruits covered with chocolate or cut into floral shapes for a fruity take on a usual bouquet. Mix fruits of all colors for a beautiful variety. Don’t forget the tasty dipping sauce!  Fill around the “stems” with leafy greens for added color and style.

Pick Your Own
Interacting with your food is one way to earn it. Make mealtime personal by setting up a small garden or farmer’s market to allow guests to select the ingredients for their made-to-order meal. Fresh from farm to table, guests will enjoy seeing the fruits of their labor come to life from the stalk to their plate.

Life-size Food Tower
Your mother always told you not to play with your food, but you’re an adult now. Use the shape of the snack to your benefit by stacking snack bars or catered sandwich boxes to create a life-sized Jenga tower. Are your snacks too small or too messy for Jenga? Use boxed products to create towers of art, like Coca-Cola did for their yearly event at The Georgia International Convention Center.

With a little bit of creativity, no event will lack in luster with these inspired food displays.

Have your own creative display idea? Tweet us a photo at @Culinaero.

 

 

Catering for guests with dietary needs can be a difficult, yet necessary task for for any caterer or meeting planner. Keep guest satisfaction (and safety!) at the top of your priority list to make your event a success. Some common dietary restrictions we see at the Georgia International Convention Center are:

  • Food allergies (peanuts, shellfish)
  • Intolerances (gluten-free diets)
  • Religious restrictions (certified kosher meals)
  • Lifestyle choices (veganism, vegetarianism)

Whether allergies, lifestyle choices or religious beliefs limit menu options for attendees, consider accommodating every attendee’s needs with the options below.

Plan as Far in Advance as Possible
Easily account for attendees’ dietary needs by including an initial questionnaire with registration. This way, you’ll have all of the attendees’ preferences on file with only one point of communication. With this knowledge early in the planning process, you’ll have the ability to consider any restrictions while planning the meeting’s catering menu.

Make Needs Clear with Your Caterer

When discussing meal options with your caterer, be sure to touch on dietary needs and restrictions whether the information from your attendees is available to you or not. Most caterers will have standard replacements for most popular items and should be familiar with common dietary restrictions.

Give Attendees a Choice

At the event, give your attendees the freedom to choose their meal. Providing both a meat and a vegetarian option, for example, will allow most attendees to find a selection they are happy with (whether they have specific dietary needs or not).

Have a Backup Plan

If you do not have access to the preferences or intolerances of your guests prior to solidifying the catering menu, it is advisable to have a number of meals set aside for guests with special dietary needs. Setting aside additional ingredients and menu possibilities, you can reduce your event-day stress by knowing attendees have additional options if needed.

Follow these tips to make sure no attendee goes hungry!

Questions? Tweet us at @Culinaero.

What is CulinAero?

August 28, 2014

What is CulinAero? It’s a fair question that comes up every now and then.
 
CulinAero by Proof of the Pudding is the food and beverage provider at the Georgia International Convention Center. CulinAero differs from typical convention center fare, or institutional style food, by its commitment to restaurant-quality menus, preparation and, in particular, ingredients: vegetables, meats and fish sourced from local and regional organic farms. CulinAero is produced and delivered under the direction of Executive Chef Doug Kieley whose background includes key positions with renowned Executive Chefs Pierre Douson at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Naples, Fla., and Emeril Legasse at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.
 
The GICC wanted to enhance its reputation for leadership. While the venue is distinguished on many levels, including its uniquely modern architecture, large ballroom and location at the doorstep to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, management felt there was an opportunity to bolster the quality of its food. Initially, it was believed the solution was to improve the way its food and beverage service was promoted, understanding they needed to make meeting planners more aware of the GICC’s food quality. Upon consideration, however, it was determined that broader operating changes would also be appropriate. Changes included a steadfast commitment to fresh ingredients from local and regional farms, and revising menus to be more inclusive of such produce, meats, poultry and seafood.
 
 
Sometimes people ask me for ideas for their holiday dishes. I always get the sense they feel like they’re taking the easy way by having the same things each year, like they feel complacent. They’re suffering from an unmistakable confusion about feeling a need to shake it up.
 
Here’s the deal: Holidays are about tradition, and tradition results from doing the same thing, the same way, with the same people, at the same place, on and on… Get it? It’s about sameness! In my house, green bean casserole has been a fixture at holiday meals for as long as my children can remember. It’s become part of what they expect, and they’ll be the first to tell you if we didn’t have it, they’d miss it.
 
Believe me, great traditions are steeped in sameness. Ask anyone about his or her favorite family traditions, and they’ll be able to tell you what they eat. They might even be able to tell you who cooks it and what distinguishes their style. You know what I mean, like “grandma’s green beans.”
 
Do yourself a favor. Don’t shake it up. Keep doing what you do, making the foods your family loves — and loves you for.
 
 
 
Almost Easter, and for many, hams will be the centerpieces of holiday dinner tables.
 
Ever notice those perfectly cross-hatched incisions in the fat of the ham when you see ham featured in cooking magazines? Of course, you have. Just like the grill marks on a steak — sort of.
 
It makes the ham beautiful, especially when the heat from the cooking has browned and opened the cut marks.
 
While presentation is appreciable and sure to make us cooks all the more proud, there are good reasons we score our hams like this. Making incisions in the fat of the ham allows the flavors of the glaze to work their way into the meat. Using a sharp knife, slice a crosshatch pattern in your ham about a half-inch deep. You’ll give the glaze a better chance to work its magic.
 

Packaging Makes Perfect

March 20, 2014

We talk a lot about presentation, the way we plate food, display it on buffet tables, garnish dishes to improve aesthetic appeal. It’s part of the eating experience, and it makes a difference. Fact is food prepared impeccably won’t excite diners like good food that’s beautiful to the eye. I’ve seen this with my own eyes for decades.
 
The same principle will make a low-effort gift of cookies go a long way. Bake a batch of cookies, and place six or eight to the side to give to someone. Place the cookies in a decorative tin or an interesting jar or colorful bag. You can even decorate it with a beautiful bow or a nice tag. Do this, and watch the way your cookies are received.